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12 emerging artists you need to hear this March – DJ Mag

The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From UK rap fusions and politically charged electronic experiments to lush vocal house and colourful bass, here’s here’s March 2022’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Scottish rap DJ and producer K4CIE has been carving out a lane for herself that’s distinctly female-focused. Setting up the women-celebrating club nights PEACH and Bad Bitches Only, as well as safety-conscious music and creative studio 644, she’s created spaces where female fans of rap and women creators can thrive. Grinding since 2014, she’s graduated from her residency at Glasgow’s LVLS Radio to feature on NTS, Rinse FM and Red Bull Radio and play across the country, including Reading and Leeds festivals, Wireless and the Warehouse Project. Meanwhile, her production work, which includes BBC Radio 1Xtra Track Of The Week ‘Baby Sky Hook’ featuring Black Josh, has no doubt helped her win Best Hip Hop at the 2021 Scottish Alternative Music Awards. In 2022, K4CIE is looking to release more music.
“My upcoming EP is shaping up to be something quite dark and mysterious. I’ve taken the US trap tone and given it a cold UK edge, almost representing the dark shadows of the North,” she says, revealing that she’s also been working with both homegrown artists and rappers from outside the UK. Kamila Rymajdo
For fans of: Tiffany Calver, Bossy LDN, IAMDDB
A new name to emerge from the Bristol scene, Skeleton King has fast been gaining momentum and kudos since his first appearance on Breaks ‘N’ Pieces back in 2020. With an affinity for UKG, his productions flow between skippy 2-step and breaks, with plenty of driving basslines. He’s had releases on Lobster Theremin and LA-based label Fantastic Voyage, and there’s plenty more to come for 2022. His latest release sees him return to Breaks ‘N’ Pieces with the EP ‘Falling In Love’. 
The title track features vocals from Nine8 crew member Bone Slim and lush melodious snippets, while the rest of the record displays his distinctive UK bass-driven sound. In April, he’ll be dropping a bootleg edit of 2Pac’s ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ via Bandcamp, plus there’s another EP he’s cooking up on a faster, even more bass-heavy trajectory, delving into the worlds of lo-fi, drum & bass and more. Anna Wall
For fans of: Holloway, Eliphino, Interplanetary Criminal
Photo: Harry Robertshaw
Hailing from Switzerland, Belia Winnewisser spent years fronting the bands Evje and Silver Firs (she’s still part of the latter), before she turned to producing electronic music under her own name. It was during an Erasmus exchange in Norway that the seeds for her electronic work were first planted. Away from home, without a band or any real studio space, she turned to her computer to create. 
Since 2017, when she first presented her work with Präsens Editionen, an offshoot of the independent magazine zweikommasieben, Belia has  put out a handful of releases: an EP via SPA Recordings and two album projects, again with Präsens. But what’s clear across all of Belia’s music thus far is her propensity for pop’s vividness, which she pairs with more mind-jilting leftfield electronics. Her new EP, ‘Mother Earth Took Poison In Her Soil’ via Die Orakel, sees this combinatory sound building momentum. Sophie McNulty
For fans of: Mor Elian, Ariel Zetina, Priori
Photo: Flavio Karrer
Nahash is the project of Raphael Valensi. Although now based in Montréal, he spent an extended period living in Shanghai working with labels such as Huashan Records, with whom he put out a series of EPs, and SVBKVLT, who he dropped his debut album with in 2020, ‘Flowers Of The Revolution’. Nahash’s work always takes a political slant: his debut album dove into the impact of Western powers and dictatorships in Central and South America. Musically, he communicates those topics through contrasts, as he pairs familiar sounds from bass, jungle, techno, reggae and even trance with harsher sound design elements that jar our experience. 
He just released his new EP ‘Tides’ via Flore’s inimitable label POLAAR; this time, his subject matter turns to the environmental crisis and all the socio-economic implications that come with it, as he continues to pen his “soundtrack for the end of the world”. Sophie McNulty
For fans of:Nene H, Slikback, Hassan Abou Alam
Photo: Thomas Guerigen

Theo Nasa’s EP ‘Fatal Energies’ on Radio Slave’s Rekids Special Projects label illuminates his fun yet slightly sinister sound to a tee. The release includes high-tempo techno packed with squishy basslines and tripped-out vocals — ‘Nina’s Trippin’ speaks for itself — but the London-based artist draws inspiration from many genres. Having bought a pair of 1210s aged 12, Nasa mixed jungle, drum & bass, R&B and house, among other sounds, learning how to mix seemingly paradoxical tones and textures. 
Years later, a trip to Berghain introduced Nasa to techno and motivated him to produce a slew of eccentric but club-ready tracks for Rekids, UNCAGE, World Unknown and his own imprint, Alien Sound Trax. Continuing to craft both hard-hitting and spaced-out sounds, 2022 will be a busy year for him; with a debut at Amelie Lens’s event EXHALE in Belgium this month and his return to Junction 2 in June, Nasa is only just getting started. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Ellen Allien, SHLØMO, Nastia
Brighton-based Josie Bee has built a name as a discerning jungle and hardcore expert who’s not afraid to have fun. Her Jungle Music show, which has run on Noods radio since early 2020, sees her present fresh music from across the breakbeat-powered spectrum and host a raft of the modern scene’s most revered names, like Mantra, Gremlinz, Tim Reaper and Anna Morgan. Also tearing up IRL gigs across the UK, this month Josie is set to play Calling The Hardcore at Brighton’s notorious Volks club, and will be making the trip to Southport for the grand return of Bang Face Weekender in May. 
Also be on the look out for new guest mixes for Calling The Hardcore, The Everyday Junglist Podcast and Yorobi’s ever-discerning Jungletrain show, Polyclinique Redux. On the production front, Josie has an equally exploratory take that ranges from a thumping breakcore excursion for BOUNCYLVANIA to ambient jungle tracks and, most recently, a full-throttle Pokémon-themed  bootleg of Riffz’s ‘Comin 2 Ruff’ that’s almost as addictive as the game itself. Ben Hindle
For fans of: Sully, Mantra, Dwarde
The Malaysian/Irish producer yunè pinku first caught the ear of many late last November with the release of her debut solo track ‘Laylo’. The tune was three minutes of understated joy that sounded something like what the late-’70s post-punk minimalists of Young Marble Giants would be making if they were transported 40 years into the future, then handed some gear to try their hand at producing a UK garage tune. The song wasn’t the London-based artist’s only big 2021 moment — she’d already provided the vocals on Logic1000’s tuneful house cut ‘What You Like,’ and both Joy Orbison and the Blessed Madonna had invited the young artist to provide guest mixes on their BBC Radio shows.
That’s certainly a pretty good start, but it looks like it’s only the beginning. In late January, pinku released ‘Affection’ — like ‘Laylo,’ it’s a charmer, with subdued chopped-and-processed lullaby vocals threading their way through an insistent chord pattern, pulsing low- end, and syncopated breakbeats, with just a hint of melancholy to add emotional depth. There’s a full EP on the way in April via the Platoon label — the anticipation is already building. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: India Jordan, Call Super, Anz
The music of Ray Barragan and Lionel Rifkin, working under the Club Tularosa banner, occupies the sweet spot between Italo disco, new wave, and house — and while there are plenty of other producers working in a similar territory, few are doing it with the same panache as the LA-based duo. Starting with 2019’s ‘NNN04’ EP — released on Now Now Now, a sub-label of Man Power’s Me Me Me — the two have honed a sound that transverses between ebon-hued moodiness and kaleidoscopic joy, with a percolating, synth-heavy sound that’s hard to resist.
Along the way, Barragan and Rifkin have remixed the likes of Roe Deers and Louisahhh — and the latter returns the favor on the pair’s latest Club Tularosa offering on Now Now Now, the ‘Glory’ EP. Featuring collaborations with fellow LA producer Adult Hits and vocalists Megan Sutherland and Clarissa Jacks, it’s their most accomplished work yet, brooding and bright in equal measure. The two are also great DJs, as habitués of LA’s Midnight Lovers parties know — the rest of us can content ourselves with their hit-the-spot mixes on Club Tularosa’s SoundCloud page. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Klein + M.B.O., Gui Boratto, Juan MacLean
Canadian-born/Denver-based producer Poni has an affinity for “heavy bass, a sense of darkness, and never quite enough distortion”. As such, her sonic output to date has been arresting, dynamic, and deliciously out there. Her original release ‘Night In Hell’ is a menacing d&b snarler with hella sharp teeth — it landed on Space Yacht’s ‘Critical Mass Vol.1’ compilation last year, not long after she was declared a winner of RL Grime’s inaugural Sable Valley remix contest for her twisted take on Deadcrow’s ‘Fallout’. 
She rounded out 2021 by lending both her production and vocal talents to the collaboration ‘Theta’, which appeared on Vanic’s debut album ‘Here & Now’, and the two dropped an electro-meets-hardstyle remix of RIOT’s ‘Down With Your Love’ last month. She’s already proved herself to be anything but a one-trick Poni, and there’s plenty of reasons to be intrigued by the debut EP that’s allegedly bubbling away in her studio as we type. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Dirtyphonics, Spor, Vanic
Born and raised in Palangkaraya, Indonesia, Papa Khan has won over DJs in the world of “color bass” — not to mention main-stage names like Marshmello and Skrillex — with his vividly melodic cuts. Since 2018, he’s used lush and intentionally discordant productions to demonstrate that there is beauty in dysfunction.
A growing number of fans that connect with his unpredictable progressions on an emotional level tend to agree. His newest stinger, ‘Never Cared’, just dropped via Monstercat on February 14th, adding a bit of pop-punk energy to his expansive discography. The track serves as Papa Khan’s farewell to toxic relationships, a goodbye which he cements with in-your-face synth stabs and cutting lyrics. “For those who have been betrayed and hurt, this one is for you,” he offers, ushering in a new emo-electronic sound that’s likely to take the teenager’s international profile even higher in 2022. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Ace Aura, Chime, Moore Kismet
There’s something rumbling Down Under. Enter Godlands, the Adelaide-based producer who’s tearing up the trap scene with a mix of daring, hip-hop-laced productions and immersive festival bangers. She’s emerged as a Triple J and BBC darling, and her 2021 EP ‘Ready 2 Rage’ proved that even though she’s quite new to the game, her technique stands up against the Australian bass stalwarts who set the stage before her.
Her next single, ‘GODSP33D’, drops on 28th March — it’s a haunting, percussive thrasher that spotlights her no-holds-barred approach to sound design. It’s also the title track of her forthcoming EP, coming via Monstercat in June. The five selections on it are as gritty and all-out as they come. Listeners can expect to catch this rising star again stateside sooner rather than later. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Alison Wonderland, G Jones, What So Not
Rap, by definition, is a verbally-reliant form of music, its intent dependent on its lyrics. Sometimes, though, those lyrics are rendered with such passionate emotion that their exact meaning seems almost superfluous. Such is the case with Uganda’s Ecko Bazz — though his words, exploring violence, religion, drug abuse, and poverty, are voiced in the language of Luganda, there is enough intensity and dynamism in their delivery that the overall message comes through loud and clear when heard by non-speakers. 
He made his debut with 2018’s grime-tinged ‘Tuli Banyo’; the full-length follow-up, ‘Mmaso,’ is due out on the reliable Ugandan label Hakuna Kulala on 18th March. Featuring production work from DJ Scotch Rolex, Debmaster, Slikback, and DJ Die Soon, the album is laced with the sounds of grime, dancehall, American hip-hop and, of course, Ecko Bazz’s fierce phrasing. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Meek Mill, Kano, MC Yallah
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